Riveting book - charming Victorian prose. Winchester makes excellent use of the English language in writing this ode to the OED (which is, itself, an ode to English itself). Charles Hodgson (of podictionary.com) chose perfectly in recommending this.
The first half of this book was excellent. About the point where the main character, Amir, returns to Afghanistan, however, it starts to fall apart. The remarkable character development which so powerfully moved the first half of the book disappears in favour of blatant manipulation of characters. A close family friend, for example, is reduced to nothing more than a plot device, who conveniently disappears when he is no longer needed.
This could almost be pardoned, amid the excitement in that part of the book (it's really quite thrilling), except that, after climax & denouement, Hosseini starts in on another plot line, which manages to feel forced, even though it is realistic. Then, as though, realizing that it's just not working, there is a deus ex machina fix, before a rather slow, melancholy "there is no such thing as a fairy-tale ending" wraps things up.
It *is* his first effort though, and, assuming his editors wake up a bit, I have high hopes for "A Thousand Splendid Suns."
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